In mechanics, automation which involves starting and stopping of a mechanical system is fulfilled with the use of actuators.
An actuator is basically a device that starts or stops mechanical equipment through hydraulic fluid, electric current or other sources of power to facilitate the motion.
Actuators can be divided into four primary groups depending on the source of electricity they use namely
- mechanical to generate motion of some type.
The motion that these actuators would create may be rotary, linear or oscillatory. Hydraulic actuators may be preferred due to the fact that they possess high force capability and can be used to move heavy equipment. A small force can create a great force with hydraulic actuators and yet still able to provide mechanical stiffness.
The electric actuator is part of the actuator instead of being separate like a pneumatic or hydraulic system.
- These actuators can be found in a lot of control systems because of the fact that they are easily interfaced with the management systems which mostly run on power as well. Also, electrical energy is readily available unlike fluid or pneumatic energy.
- How these devices run is quite simple as electric energy is used to create motion in the actuators. The electric energy is used to power motors that then create mechanical torque. Since electrical energy doesn’t involve tangible substance, a person does not have to worry about cleaning up, unlike hydraulic actuators where leakages may occur. Diagnosing any problems with electrical actuators is also easier.
Pneumatic actuators are used to convert energy stored in compressed air at high pressure into motion that can be rotary or linear. Like the hydraulic actuator, pneumatic actuators also include a piston and cylinder. They also have valves or ports.
Air filter (also known as “ชุดกรองลม” in Thai language) a device for filtering particles from the air passing through it, especially one protecting the air inlet of an internal combustion engine.
The cylinder which comprises the piston also has a diaphragm which separates the piston and the pressurized air. As air is compressed, it moves the diaphragm which then moves the piston that is connected to a valve stem thereby generating motion. An advantage of such actuators is that the power source does not need to be stored.
These actuators generally convert rotary motion into linear motion using gears, pulleys, chains and other mechanical devices to operate.